Monday, May 04, 2020

Copywriting: How to Assemble Your Copy


Why You Need to Assemble Your Copy

When you're putting together your copy you need to give it order and meaning, otherwise it will have no foundation to stand-on.  A well structured piece will help you get your point across to the reader in a coherent manner, enabling the reader to have a more pleasing experience, and solidifying your story in their mind.

We're going to look at a number of different ways to assemble your copy, helping you choose a plan to suit your copywriting purpose.

Create a Strategy

For most people jumping straight in might seem the best option when copywriting, but this can often end with a confusing message that doesn't get the right message across.

When you make a plan you understand where your copy needs to go, and what it needs to accomplish in the long-run.  Making it a more efficient and productive piece of text.

A good place to start is by making notes about all of the top ranking ideas you want to cover.  All of these will be made into a paragraph in your final draft.  You might find it useful to write these on sticky notes or scraps of paper.  Once you've written down all of your ideas, start assembling them in a logical manner, so that they make more sense.

Subheadings can be used for longer sections of writing so that you can divide them into broader areas and create more distinct fields.

It's best to just stick to planning and nothing else, because none of your words will go into the final copy.  If your mind starts thinking about particular words and phrases, place them on separate notes for later on, then get back to your plan.  At this stage we're just matching ideas together.

Make a Steady Start

Following the headline your opening is the next most essential part of your copy, and nearly as challenging to write.  It needs to bring the reader in and have the desire to keep reading on, and demonstrate you're going to deliver on the promise of your headline. 

You could try:
  • Asking a question.
  • Writing a story.
  • Linking to the reader's situation with if this then that.
  • Write a metaphor.
  • Suggesting something the reader already knows and linking to it.
Begin at the Middle First

You could try leaving your opening until later instead of attempting to write it first.

Start by pinning down the meaning of your copy, this usually includes the portion about the advantages of the product.  Begin writing your headline, and determine how you'll get the reader through the text to the advantages the product has to offer.

Lastly connect to your call to action with some compelling points.

Similarly you could try writing a placeholder opening that doesn't quite fit into your copy on the understanding that you'll get back to it later.

Copywriting Formulas

Google is awash with copywriting formulas, so instead of letting you Google one let's take a quick look at a simple one right now.

FAB - Features - Advantages - Benefits

Features - What your product can do.

- Why is the product so helpful?

Benefits - What it means to the reader.

To put it simply: You get this...and the product does that you get this.

This particular copywriting formula focuses on the benefits of a product, and not the features.

Fix a Problem

Use the product you're writing copy for as a solution to a problem, this is a sure-fire way of structuring your copy.

Keep it simple and focus on one problem (or pressure point) that may be troubling to the reader.  Present the headline with the problem and perhaps the solution.  In the body copy talk in further detail, before describing how the product solves the problem.

If you're writing a sales letter or landing page you may need to establish your credibility as a writer.  You do this with a Who I am or why you should listen to me section.

Offer Information

All of your readers are at different stages of knowledge about the product you're trying to sell through your advertisement, this means you need to determine which stage this is before you start writing. 

In the book Breakthrough Advertising, Eugene Schwartz broke down prospect awareness into five distinct phases:

1. The Most Aware: Your reader knows the product, and only needs to know the deal.

2. Product-Aware: Your reader knows what you sell, but isn't sure it's right for him.

3. Solution-Aware: Your reader knows the result he wants, but not that your product provides it.

4. Problem-Aware: Your reader senses he has a problem, but doesn't know there's a solution.

5. Completely Unaware: No knowledge of anything except, perhaps, his own identity or opinion.

You'll find that most copy is usually aimed at the middle three kinds of reader: problem-aware, solution-aware, and product-aware.  The first two (problem-aware and solution-aware) usually take the pattern of problem solving, which emphasises the readers' situation, before going on to tell them about how things could be different if they used this particular product. 

Don't spend too much time fixing the problem, instead tell them what they need to know and why this specific item is the one they should choose to solve their solution.

Once your reader has become product aware you can shift gears to convince them why they should purchase the product.

Useful Points to Consider When Writing Your Copy

1. Use a Different Viewpoint

Everybody has a different view point of the product, try speaking separately to different user groups that identify with your product.

2. Use the Family Tree Method

This method is usually used by newspapers and is a reliable way to give your copy a strong structure.  You do this by starting with the central point, then gradually move on to the descending point in order of importance.

3. Try Making a List

If you've got a lot to cover, try making a list, this is particularly useful if you have a lot to say.  You could start by listing the most important functions, using numbered subheadings.

4. Walk Your Reader Through Step-by-Step

With this system you walk your reader through the steps as a sequence or process, explaining each one in turn, like you were writing a recipe.

Making it ideal for the reader to understand something that may be a bit complicated before they commit to a sale. 

5. Use the Magic of Three

If you live in the UK are of a certain age you're sure to remember Mars® bars catchy slogan:
A Mars a day helps you work, rest and play.
You can also apply this to sentences in a paragraph, because three sentences will be just enough to develop your argument without losing or boring your audience. 

Only use rules when they're useful, and don't bother with them if they're not.

I'd love to hear your thoughts about assembling your copy.

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